Friday, June 27, 2014

Little French Cabinet

June is such a busy month, hence the break from the blog.  There are four birthdays in my family plus Father's Day, so it's party after party.  And then there is the fact that when you live in Minnesota, you have to take advantage of the warmer summer months and fill them with activity.  That's just how it goes.

Between parties I did manage to find some fun furniture.  One cabinet wasn't anything to speak of necessarily, but there were some nice curves and lines in the piece.  It definitely looked like it could have a French flair, which of course is my favorite style to emulate.

Here is the piece when I got it.  It didn't have any hardware.

I wanted it to have some subtle textures, so layering paint was the best way to accomplish that.  I started with Shabby Paints So Serene and lightly (and somewhat sloppily) applied it.

 Then next layer was with Antique Verde, which was applied very randomly.

After the layers were sufficiently dry, I applied Alamo White with a very watery brush to create a wash.  I moved the brush up and down and diagonally in quick motions.

I had a cloth on hand to wipe back and blend in some of the Alamo White.

I kept playing with the brush and the rag, wiping it down, adding more, dry brushing some areas, and doing whatever I could to create an aged textured look.  Eventually it looked like this.

I was hoping for it to be even more subtle, so I did another layer of the Alamo White in the same motions.  The second coat of white created those subtle textures I was hoping for.

Finally after all the paint was dry, I applied two coats of Vax for protection.  I love working with Vax because it's so quick and easy.  I sprayed a car polishing sponge with a quick squirt of water, then dipped it in the Vax.  With quick even strokes, it was applied over the paint.  If the sponge seemed too dry and more difficult to spread, I would spray another squirt of water to dampen it.  After the two coats of Vax, it was finished.  Almost.  I found some appropriate hardware in my stash and added that final touch.

 This close up shows off the texture better.

So we went from this....

to this....

This piece was somewhat trial and error and involved playing with the paint to get it right.  But that's the fun part, right?

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Friday, May 30, 2014

So Serene Cabinet

When I picked up this cabinet, it was a mess!  Lots of scratches, indents, and even screws drilled in on the sides to keep a shelf intact.

The first thing I did was remove the shelf and fill in the holes where the screws were.

After cleaning it up and getting it back into shape, I wiped it down with a 50/50 mix of vinegar and water.  Then it received a few coats of Shabby Paints So Serene.

After the paint had sufficiently dried, I applied Shabby Paints VAX with a damp sponge.  I spray the sponge with one quick squirt of water, dip it in the VAX, then spread it across the piece.  If it feels like the sponge needs to be dampened again, I do another quick squirt of water before continuing to apply.

After the VAX dried, I distressed the piece with 220 grit sandpaper.  It's become my preference to distress and sand after one coat of VAX.  It's less dusty when distressing and makes the second coat of VAX or ReVAX real smooth.  When it looked distressed enough, I applied hazelnut ReVAX in both a damp sponge and a brush.  I use the sponge to spread it out, and the brush to get into corners and little crannies.  The Hazelnut ReVAX softened the brightness of the color and made the piece look a bit aged.

One final step was that the back had a hole where a cord could run through.  So to cover this up, I applied fabric with Modge Podge on the back.  It not only covered the hole, but gave the piece some nice contrast.

Here is the result.

This piece is a little more bold than what I usually do, but I'm pleased with the end result.  Hopefully a customer will be too!

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Friday, May 16, 2014

Little Round Cabinet

It's nice to have simple makeovers that can be done in a day.  This cabinet below was one of those.  It was in great shape when I got it, just some scratches on the top.  There was not much prep work at all,  just a good cleaning to start.

The detail on the door fronts and on the sides of the cabinet deserved some highlighting.  So I went with a few different colors for contrast.  I used Shabby Paints Vanilla Bear for the body of the cabinet, Lillian Gray for the door fronts and sides, and Worn White to highlight the panel edging.  Two coats of each color were applied.  After the paint was completely dry, I sealed it with Shabby Paints VAX.  I sanded in between coats two coats of VAX to distress the edges and even out the finish.  Below are the products that were used.

Vanilla Bear

Lillian Gray

Worn White

VAX protective sealer

Here is the final result.

I often wrestle with painting wood when it's already in good shape.  But I think that the paint brings out some nice detail in this piece.  It turned from something pretty plain into something pretty charming.

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Friday, May 9, 2014

A Marble Occasional Table

It's very exciting when you're on a shopping trip and you find an item you have absolutely no doubts about purchasing.  It doesn't happen all the time, but when it does, it's a lot of fun.  This week I was out and about and came across a great little marble table that I snapped up immediately.  I almost could have sold it as is, but it really did need a slight alteration.  Here it is when I found it.

The yellow color was fine, but it looked a little dingy.  A nice soft gray, my favorite at the moment, seemed more appropriate.  So I went to my Shabby Paints stash and chose the color Ice, with VAX and hazelnut ReVAX as topcoats.

First, I cleaned the piece really well with a gentle cleaner.  I brushed on one coat of Ice over the yellow, while trying to preserve the areas where the wood was exposed.  After the first coat had dried, I applied a second in most areas.  Although I wanted to cover the majority of the yellow, it was nice to see spots where it was coming through.  It created even more of an aged look.

Here is the table with just paint.

After the paint was sufficiently dry, I sponged on (with a slightly damp sponge) a coat of VAX to seal the paint.  Because of all the nooks and crevices, some of the VAX built up in these areas.  To smooth it out, I took a small thin paint brush to get into all those crevices. 

After the VAX has dried, I sanded the legs with very fine sandpaper to get a smooth finish.  Then I sponged on hazelnut ReVAX to age the piece even further.  The great thing about ReVAX is that is a protective finish as well as an artistic one.  I didn't want it applied very heavily, so I worked quickly to smooth out the ReVAX and not let it build up.  It typically dries very fast, so you can't let it sit in one place for too long. With my little thin brush, I went back and applied some ReVAX in some of the nooks and crannies. 

Finally, the marble needed a little cleaning.  Using baking soda and water, I wiped down the table with a soft cloth dipped in the mixture.  I left it on for about 20 minutes, then came back and wiped it down with a wet cloth of water only.  Then I wiped it dry with a dry cloth.

Here is the table now.  I really like the textures that came through on the legs.

As a recap, here is before.

And after.

This piece will be going to Farmhouse Inspired in Hudson, WI.

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Thursday, May 1, 2014

Shabby Cabinet with Shabby Paints

It's good to get the blog up and running again!  Since Belle Junque has become a stylist (which also means retailer) for Shabby Paints, the blog focus will be how to create different looks with the products.  And we'll throw in some other things here and there too!

So we'll jump right into it.  Here are some Shabby Paints paints and finishes.

And here is an old pine cabinet.

The cabinet had great lines and some wonderful indents and bangs and bruises.  It was pretty shabby to begin with.  It's important to keep each piece in mind when attempting to renew it.  I've made the mistake of wanting a piece to have a certain look, but if it doesn't begin with the right shape or style, it's not going to come out the way one expects.  And it's important to consider the existing materials and finish, because that may show through in the end results.  So for this cabinet, with all it's little nicks and dings, it seemed best to keep it shabby.

I began with painting the body Alamo White and applied two coats.  If I had wanted a very solid white, another coat would have been best since it was going from a dark brown color to a very light white.  But I liked seeing spots where some of the wood was showing a bit.  I also lightly sanded in some spots for the wood to show more.

Lillian Gray was applied to the cabinet door panels, with a mix of Lillian Gray and Licorice on the outer edges.  I did some light distressing in the corners and on the edges until I was happy with the look. Below are Lillian Gray, Licorice, and Alamo White that were used.

Since Shabby Paints paint has a chalk finish, it requires a protective coat.  They have a fantastic sealer called VAX, which has the look of a wax but the durability of a varnish.  After the paint was sufficiently dry, it was time to apply the sheer VAX.  With a spray bottle, I applied one quick spray of water on a foam sponge used for polishing cars.  Then I dipped the sponge in the VAX and begin wiping down the piece in smooth strokes.  This was repeated until the piece was completely covered.  It's important not to apply it too thick for several reasons.  It can yellow if too thick, it's not as durable and takes longer to dry, and it could look streaky.  Two very thin coats are much better than one thick one.  I once heard the owner of Shabby Paints say that you want the products to become a part of the piece, not just sitting on top.

I think you could get by with one coat on a piece if it's not highly used.  Or, applying one coat to the sides and 2-3 on the top of a piece may be sufficient as well. But I generally apply two coats everywhere for good coverage.  On the second coat for this cabinet, I wanted to give it a slight aged look.  This is where the hazelnut ReVAX comes in.  Since I didn't want it too dark, I mixed the hazelnut ReVAX with the sheer VAX for the second coat.  If I had wanted a darker aged look, I would have applied the hazelnut ReVAX by itself.  One thing to keep in mind is that with dark ReVAX colors, it's best if they are applied over a first coat of sheer VAX for better control.  Otherwise the dark ReVAX really gets into the paint and sticks, perhaps making it darker than intended.

I repeated the steps above with the sponge to apply the VAX/ReVAX combination.  The second coat was applied after the first was sufficiently dry.  Shabby Paints suggests that not more than 2 coats be applied in a 24 hour period.

Below is the sheer VAX and hazelnut ReVAX.  The great thing about this product is that you apply, let it dry, and you're done!  I also find that some light sanding between coats give a nice soft feel, or, sanding with 600 grit sandpaper after the final coat is completely dry.

So now it's finished and we went from this

to this

The cabinet is still shabby, but hopefully a little more chic.

The other huge plus about Shabby Paints is the fact that all of their products are non-toxic and contain no VOCs.  When trying to reuse and repurpose, it's a good feeling to do it with products that are safer for the environment, home and family.

So another piece is complete and is available for sale at Farmhouse Inspired in Hudson, WI.

If you're interested in Shabby Paints, more information can be found at